msLaura: Modern Mama Laura Hamilton + Dan Baker = Julian Hamilton Baker & Adrian Hamilton Baker "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
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« One more day.... | Main | Day Four in the Hospital »

Adrian is here!

Adrian is here!

The last few days have been a roller-coaster ride, to say the least.

The night before I came to the hospital was hectic. I had a million little things left to do, of course. No one major thing, just lots of tiny little things that I had forgotten about. So I wasn't able to lay around and rest all afternoon as I had planned, and by the time I got my bag packed and went to bed I had jacked up my back again and it was killing me.

I slept for 2-3 hours, then woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. Just too worked up, excited, scared, nervous. And since I had to wake up at FOUR-THIRTY AM in order to get to the hospital by FIVE-THIRTY AM, I was afraid that I would sleep through my alarm, and that kept me awake too. I laid in bed next to Julian and obsessively checked the clock.

Actually I *did* sleep for tiny stretches at a time, but in each case it was just long enough to have a mini-nightmare, at which point I would wake back up. First I dreamed that I woke up and Dan was already awake and eating breakfast. Out of absolutely nowhere he started acting completely hostile and irrational, basically picked a huge fight with me. We started yelling and I was crying, "I can't believe you are acting like this the morning that we are going to have a baby!" At which point I woke up and realized that it was all just a bad dream. Huge relief, but geez. Stress!

The next two mini-nightmares were the same, just different in the details. The alarm went off and I woke up, but then Julian woke up too and started crying and melting down, asking where I was going, and why I was leaving him. Since I had to calm him down, I wasn't able to get ready to leave, and I was late. Waking up from those mini-nightmares to find a peacefully snoozing Julian next to me was a huge relief.

In the end I just got up out of bed before the alarm went off. It was FREEZING, literally, but I couldn't turn on the heater for fear of waking up Julian. I got dressed as quickly as possible, grabbed my bag, and went out to my ice-covered car. Brrrrrrr.

I got to the hospital and checked in, got my IV started, my gown and cap on, and signed forms. Dan came in at about 6:45am and got suited up. At 7:30am it was time to go.

The operating room was unbelievably cold. I walked in and started shivering right away. They put warmed blankets over me as I sat on the table curled over to get my spinal block, but I was shaking, and then I started crying. It was all just too freaky and scary. Dr. B was really sweet and held my shoulders tight while the anesthesiologist finished up. He asked if I was OK as I splashed him with tears. I told him I was scared, and he patted me and said that it would all go just fine and I had nothing to worry about, he would take good care of me.

The spinal block hit and my lower body went numb and warm. I laid on the operating table and the anesthesiologist piled more blankets over me, complete with a special little heater, like a blow dryer. I felt like a bounce house with the warm air blowing on me under the blankets. Dan came in, sat down next to me, and held my hand, and then we were ready to go.

I felt nothing, just a lot of tugging and pulling. No shaking this time. No scary numbness. The spinal block went up to my ribs and that was it. It was much denser than the epidural was, but since it didn't go so high up I had no breathing or swallowing issues. Dr. B told me that I would feel one big push down on my abdomen, and then we heard Adrian crying. His official birth time was 7:49am.

I couldn't see him, as there was a big drape between my upper body and lower body, but Dan got up and went to go inspect our new baby son. I heard Adrian crying and everyone exclaiming over how big and beautiful he was. Dan came back and reported that he was nice and big and healthy, not wrinkled at all. And he looked JUST like Julian, which surprised me. I had an idea that he would be darker. Dan took a digital photo of him and showed it to me, and it was true. He looked round and pink and healthy, and just like Julian, but a little bit blonder than Julian was.

Before they whisked Adrian away they waved him in front of my face for a few seconds, but I couldn't really get a good look at him. I was laying flat on my back and they zoomed him up right in my face. I got in a quick peck on the one little non-swaddled section of his face that was exposed, and then he was gone before I could even really focus my eyes on him.

I laid on the table for 10-15 more minutes while they finished sewing me up. As requested, Dr. B put some stitches in to hold my abs together to help them heal up properly without a big separation. He sutured me up beautifully and did NOT use quick-and-dirty staples like most other doctors do. He excised my old C-section scar too. He was great.

All done and ready to hold my baby! They moved me into the post-surgery area to await the return of feeling to my legs. The nurse was a doll and gave me a cup of ice chips right away to relieve my thirst and cottonmouth. But where was my baby? My healthy, pink, beautiful, 7 pound-9 ounce, 20-inch baby? Why couldn't I hold him? I got to see Julian right after my C-section last time, hold him as soon as the feeling returned to my arms, and nurse him right after that. From the moment I left the operating room he never was more than 10 feet away from me, and was in fact ON me skin-to-skin about 99% of the time, except for brief visits to the bathroom. Where was my sweet baby THIS time?

That's when things really started sucking. It's all a little hazy, I was kind of out of it from the surgery, but someone (Dan?) told me that Adrian's breathing was too fast and they needed to run some tests on him. But he would be in shortly. Maybe another hour or so.

An hour? Ugh, I want my baby now! I can't possibly wait an HOUR to see him! But wait I did.

Yes, dear Reader, I waited. I waited all goddamn day long to see my baby. First it was the breathing...too fast. Could be some fluid in his lungs still, could just be a longer-than-normal transition adjustment from womb to world. Either way, as long as he was breathing so fast, no one could hold him. I was too out of it to go to the NICU, but I sent Dan in to hold him skin-to-skin and he was refused.

We were expecting a short wait, but kept hearing worse and worse news about our baby. Dan questioned the doctor and nurses, and since he wasn't overcome with post-partum hormones he was able to hold himself together beautifully and reassure me that everything would be OK. I, on the other hand, fell apart as one person after another came into the room and told me progressively scarier news about Adrian. His mysterious breathing problems. Wet lungs. A long transition period. A possible infection of some sort. Then he was anemic, on top of everything else. He was stable for now, but sometimes babies in his situation spiraled downwards very quickly. Perhaps he could get out of the NICU by the time I was discharged, but maybe not, He might have to stay longer.

I cried my eyes out that first day. I sobbed so hard that my eyes swelled up like a prizefighter. I think I managed to scare all of the nurses with my crying outbursts...I was just so heartbroken at not being able to see or hold my new baby. They were very kind and did the best they could for me. As soon as I was able, they wheeled me in to look at him, but I was only able to lightly hold his hand, not pick him up or anything. In a way that was worse...being right there and not able to hold him in my arms. Poor little newborn baby with a big IV planted in his scalp, wires sticking out all over. I petted his fluffy blonde little Woodstock baby bird head, held his tiny hand, then went back to my room and sobbed some more.

The days all blur together. As I write this, it's Thursday night. Tuesday was the miserable day of No Adrian. Late on Tuesday night I was able to go in again and sit in a wheelchair to hold him finally. He was rooting like crazy, mouthing his shirt sleeve, his hand, everything that he could brush his face against. I had already asked if I could nurse him and was told no, even though the only reason not to nurse him was that his respiratory rate was too fast, and I saw on the monitor that his respiratory rate was normal. So here I have a wildly rooting baby in my arms who is breathing normally, and I'm being told not to nurse him.

Too bad! I whipped out a boob and put it in his mouth. He latched on and sucked. The nurse (the only icky one so far) came over and told me that I was going against doctor's orders and I had to wait. "Call the doctor NOW then, and ask her if it's OK. I can't wait. And if it's not OK with her, then let her come and tell me so." Crabby Nurse called, and it *was* OK with the doctor.

That same nurse warned me against "feeding him too much" and kept trying to get me to stop nursing Adrian and put him back down. My milk hadn't even come in yet, so all I had was colostrum in small teaspoon amounts. How could he possibly get "too much" to eat from that? Plus, he hadn't had a thing to eat since he was born, just an IV. She was bizarre. Like I said though, she was the only bad nurse, the rest have been really wonderful.

All day long Tuesday I had been having the same 30-second nightmares every time that I dropped off. I just wasn't able to rest because of it. Some horrible and strange scenario would play itself out in my mind as soon as I drifted off, and then I woke back up. While Dan was there I was telling him some of the mini-nightmares. In one I found myself in a rowboat tied to a dock at low tide. The dock was up high, and the rowboat was down very low in the water because of the tide. I tried to climb out, but realized that I had just had a C-section and couldn't even walk around yet, much less climb out of a rowboat. I was trapped there. Then I woke up.

I was so exhausted after not sleeping the night before, the surgery, crying all day long...but I just couldn't sleep. Too freaked out. After I held and nursed Adrian though, I went back to my room and was finally able to sleep for most of the night.

The next day I got my IV and catheter out, took a shower, and felt much better. I was still very wobbly walking around, but I was at least able to be mobile, instead of being tethered to my bed and wheelchair.

I spent most of the latter part of the day in the NICU with Adrian, but the news was confusing. He was responding well to the antibiotics, but they weren't sure that he had ever had an infection. Now that his breathing had stabilized, what was the problem? Well, he was still anemic. Later on in the day his blood sugar became dangerously low. His calcium was low. Just as I was being permitted to nurse him, he suddenly needed a dose of formula to bring his blood sugar back up...but he had never even been given the colostrum that I had pumped for him.

The whole situation was intolerably frustrating and confusing. I demanded that he be nursed by me at least every three hours, take away all pacifiers, no more formula unless medically necessary. The nurses were mostly cool with that, but at some point in the middle of the night his blood sugar slipped again in between feedings and he was given formula. I didn't find out until the next morning, after waking up to feed him at 5:00am and finding a sleeping baby who didn't want to nurse.

Right now the situation is this...he is done with antibiotics and will receive his last dose of supplementary calcium by IV at 6:00am. After that the IV should be taken out.

Then it's just a matter of monitoring his blood sugar and doing another blood test to make sure that everything else is normal..calcium, iron, etc. So hopefully he will improve.

I think so. My milk is coming in, slowly but surely, and he is eating more and more at every feeding. I am going in every three hours to feed him and he seems to be getting stronger and more alert each time. Yesterday the problem was that he was was so sleepy from low blood sugar that he couldn't wake up to eat. A vicious circle. But that doesn't seem to be a problem at this point. He is starting to want to eat more often than every three hours, which is a good sign. After all, Julian was eating every 1-2 hours for several weeks after he was born. He put on weight like a champ. I hope Adrian does the same.

My recovery is going great so far. Dr. B did a great job, as I said. As long as I take my ibuprofen and Percocet on time, and get enough rest, I don't have much pain at all. The incision hurts much worse when my medication is late, when I sit upright too much (as I do in the nursery), and after a visit from Julian, when I bend and lift too much. If I can lie down and rest regularly, it feels fine. So I'm trying to go see Adrian every 3 hours, come back to my room, and either eat or sleep in between. I spend an hour or two in the nursery at a time, so that's a surprisingly full schedule. I'm turning away all visitors except for Dan and Julian right now.

Speaking of which, I am way overdue for some sleeping. I only have an hour before my next baby feeding. I took a good nap this afternoon, but I am still pretty sleep deprived, and I have a long night ahead of me. So time to sack out while I can.

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